Today I stopped by the familiar site at MLK and Airport Blvd. to see the latest update. When I interviewed Erica’s mother last week, she explained they were preparing for her birthday on January 12. The decorations and balloons were still in place, a reminder of the gathering of family and friends keeping Erica’s memory alive.
When we visited last week, Ms. Vasquez also shared more thoughts about how this place has become so important for her. “I feel her when I’m here,” she said. She occasionally goes to the cemetery, but she doesn’t really feel anything there. “When we put things at the cemetery, they take it down. Here, we come all the time and fix it up and keep it mowed.”
She said there was something very important to her about being able to work here and to be present where her daughter died. “It keeps me going,” she said with a hopeful look on her face. It also means the rest of the neighborhood can understand and share her sadness.